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Papeles de la morge (#9) (2003)

Teresa Margolles

water drawing on Fabriano paper with water that has been used to wash dead bodies after autopsy

MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), Teeside University

Papeles de la morge (#9) (2003)



Drawing and Watercolour


Water, Paper, Fabriano Tiepolo Bianco paper


Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2014/15

Ownership history:

Purchased from Galerie Peter Kilchmann by the Contemporary Art Society, 4 June 2014; presented to MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, 2014
Margolles’ work focuses on the rituals and systems at play in the management of death. It turns an unflinching gaze at the realities of death and frequently uses the by-products of forensic processes, such as water used to wash dead bodies in morgues. These materials are used to produce sculptures, installations and performances that provide a poignant and visceral comment on her country’s attitudes towards death and the extreme violence perpetrated in areas such as Northern Mexico, where cartel wars and murders of women are endemic.

For the series of Papeles de la morgue, Margolles pulled a sheet of watercolour paper slowly through water previously used to wash corpses after autopsy. Organic substances such as blood, fat and hair which made their way to the body’s surface in the course of the examination cling to the absorbent paper. By immersing the paper in the water used to wash a body, the artist has created abstract and extremely moving anonymous portraits of the dead.

All rights reserved. Any further use will need to be cleared with the rights holder. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial copying, hiring, lending is prohibited. The collection that owns this artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.

For further information, please consult our section of our copyright policy.

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